It’s Thanksgiving Thursday, which means that I’ve got another Thanksgiving classic for you today: the pumpkin roll. Okay, this might not be a classic for everyone, but it’s the traditional Thanksgiving dessert in my family and it’s becoming increasingly popular. Not to go all hipster on you, but we’ve been making this long before it’s current popularity and, while I’m excited that others are discovering the goodness of the pumpkin roll, I’m a little disturbed at certain developments. For instance, last year I found a mass produced version in a gas station convenience store in Virginia. It was very upsetting. If you come across one of those prepackaged monstrosities, don’t fall prey to its pumpkin-ey wiles. I know that flirty swirl with its festive colors and hint of cinnamon is alluring, but stay strong! A homemade pumpkin roll is so easy to make and will always be better than what you pick up at the grocery store or, shudder, the gas station. So if you’re stressing about what to make for Thanksgiving dessert, give this a go. It’s easy, portable and can be made ahead of time. Actually, it would be perfect to make a day or two ahead. Just wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge until ready to eat!

Ingredients

pumpkin roll (1 of 27)

Cake:
3 Eggs
1 C Sugar
2/3 C Pumpkin (roasted or canned)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 C Flour
1/3 – 1/2 C Pecans, optional (I used walnuts because I happened to be out of pecans)
Powdered Sugar – for coating the towel

pumpkin roll (15 of 27)

Filling:
1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp Butter
1 C Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
pinch of Salt (omit if using salted butter).

Special equipment: 1 jelly roll pan, parchment paper, very clean kitchen towel

Instructions

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Preheat the oven to 375º F and line a jelly roll pan with the parchment paper.

Combine the eggs, pumpkin and sugar in one bowl and whisk to combine.

 

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Add the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and stir until there are no more lumps.

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Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and sprinkle with the nuts, if using.

 

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Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.

 

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While the cake is baking, spread out your clean kitchen towel and sprinkle a layer of powdered sugar over it. The sugar is to keep the cake from sticking to the towel, so don’t be shy about it.

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When the cake is finished cooking, take it out and let it sit for a moment. Then turn the cake out onto the towel and peel off the parchment paper.

 

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Fold the ends of the towel over and then roll the warm cake up in the towel and let it cool. This step is to help prevent the cake from completely breaking when you roll it up with the filling.

 

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While the cake is cooling, beat together all of the filling ingredients to make a cream cheese frosting.

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Gently unroll the cake and spread the filling along the inside. What I always forget is that part of the frosting will be doubled up from rolling the cake back up, so if you think ahead you can try to spread the frosting a little thinner there. If you check out the pictures you can see what happens when you don’t do that…

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Roll the cake back up, gently peeling the towel from the outside of the cake. If you used enough powdered sugar, it shouldn’t stick. At this point your pumpkin roll will be all nice and rolled up, but will look really dusty with the sugar. Don’t worry, the sugar will get absorbed into the cake and it will look all pretty again.

At this point in time you have two options. First, you could just go ahead and dig in. Second, you can wrap the roll in plastic wrap and put in the fridge to let the cream cheese filling firm up. I actually recommend a combo situation wherein you cut off and snack on the ends, which are always a little uneven, before wrapping and cooling. Best of both worlds!

 

pumpkin roll (24 of 27)

 

Pumpkin Roll
 
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 C Sugar
  • ⅔ C Pumpkin (roasted or canned)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ¾ C Flour
  • ⅓ - ½ C Pecans, optional (or walnuts, if you don't have pecans on hand)
  • Powdered Sugar - for coating the towel
  • Filling:
  • 1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • pinch of Salt (omit if using salted butter).
  • Special equipment: 1 jelly roll pan, parchment paper, very clean kitchen towel
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F and line a jelly roll pan with the parchment paper.
  2. Combine the eggs, pumpkin and sugar in one bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and stir until there are no more lumps.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and sprinkle with the nuts, if using.
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. While the cake is baking, spread out your clean kitchen towel and sprinkle a layer of powdered sugar over it. The sugar is to keep the cake from sticking to the towel, so don't be shy about it.
  7. When the cake is finished cooking, take it out and let it sit for a moment. Then turn the cake out onto the towel and peel off the parchment paper.
  8. Fold the ends of the towel over and then roll the warm cake up in the towel and let it cool. This step is to help prevent the cake from completely breaking when you roll it up with the filling.
  9. While the cake is cooling, beat together all of the filling ingredients to make a cream cheese frosting.
  10. Gently unroll the cake and spread the filling along the inside.
  11. Roll the cake back up, gently peeling the towel from the outside of the cake. If you used enough powdered sugar, it shouldn't stick.
  12. At this point in time you have two options. First, you could just go ahead and dig in. Second, you can wrap the roll in plastic wrap and put in the fridge to let the cream cheese filling firm up. I actually recommend a combo situation wherein you cut off and snack on the ends, which are always a little uneven, before wrapping and cooling. Best of both worlds!